New Orleans, Louisiana
February 20, 2022
February 20, 2022
July 20, 2022
Diversity and CoNECD Paper Sessions
1. INTRODUCTION Engineering colleges and universities have been experiencing a significant shift in faculty population with the growth of teaching faculty, or lecturers. Lecturers are serving in critical roles, as instructors, mentors, advisors, and leaders in the changing higher education landscape (Kezar, 2012). The value of their work has increased as more colleges and universities rely on their contributions to pedagogy and leadership. However, according to Waltman et al. (2012), lecturers are concerned about a lack of inclusion by tenure-track and tenured faculty members. The growth of the lecturer population calls for respectful adaptation and the inclusion of lecturers by offering opportunities similar to those of tenure-track and tenured faculty (Kezar, 2012; Rideau, 2019, Sherick et al., 2020). It also calls for the understanding of roles, responsibilities, and unique contributions of existing and new faculty members within the higher education community. Using a needs self-assessment conducted at a college of engineering in the U.S. midwest region, administrators created an organizational system to aim to support lecturers in an inclusive way. 2. DEVELOPMENT OF LECTURER-SPECIFIC SUPPORT SYSTEM Administrative leaders and faculty developers within the engineering college have introduced a lecturer-specific support system with policies and programming to facilitate this organizational movement.
Designate a lead for the program The system to support lecturers includes the creation of a director-level lecturer development position within the engineering college to champion the efforts to support over 200 lecturers. According to findings from a national study (Kezar, 2012), lecturers are leading the efforts on many campuses to create policies and practices for their inclusion. This Director has been a lecturer for over 20 years, was an administrator of an academic program taught mostly by lecturers, and is familiar with lecturer union policies.
Coordinate programming with the center for teaching and learning in engineering The Director of Lecturer Development coordinates closely with a faculty developer at the engineering college’s center for teaching and learning to jointly create and implement programming to support the lecturers. This allows for coordinated messaging to lecturers, the intentional design of programming, and avoids duplication of effort.
Develop purposeful programming to provide continuous support Additional support structures within the system include programming for lecturers, such as career milestone advising, team onboarding, one-on-one check ins, mentoring, professional development workshops, and professional career coaching. The goal is to provide development experiences for lecturers that are equitable to tenure-track and tenured faculty members.
Engage lecturers in the administrative decision-making process The lecturer support system is informed by Kotter’s (2012) organizational change model which suggests engaging a guiding team in the decision-making process. Information from the lecturers at the college is collected regularly to engage them in decisions that are made about a range of topics, including department culture, a sense of belonging, hiring practices, compensation, benefits, professional titles, and resources. This information is shared with deans and other administrators so that they are updated about the needs of the lecturers.
Strengthen connection between lecturers The Director of Lecturer Development also shares information about best practices with lecturers within different departments in order to build connection and a supportive community. This has resulted in multiple smaller lecturer affinity circles, such as female lecturers, lecturers who are parents, new lecturers, lecturers in specific departments, adjunct lecturers, and senior lecturers. This effort to connect lecturers reinforces a sense of belonging, increases support networks for lecturers, and creates space for lecturers to bond with one another.
Connect with union representatives to discover common goals Previously, the lecturer union and the college of engineering administrators communicated only during the scheduled time to negotiate the terms of the labor contract. In 2021, the Director of Lecturer Development actively reached out to lecturer union representatives in order to build relationships so that they could discuss the various perspectives of the stakeholders before negotiations, to share knowledge about what they each have learned from the lecturers, and to try to work together toward common goals. This outreach has created a relationship built on trust and transparency, with a common goal to help lecturers.
3. REDESIGNING LECTURER SUPPORT DURING A PANDEMIC
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, instructors at institutions of higher education across the country implemented substantial changes to pedagogical practices. The shift to remote instruction at the engineering college necessitated a novel approach to offering lecturers support, which included actively listening to lecturer perspectives to help them to navigate the psychological stress of remote work.
Create outreach efforts to actively listen to and advise lecturers We completed several outreach efforts in order to listen to over 68 lecturers at the college of engineering. Specifically, the data collected from 17 lecturers during 60-90 minute interviews indicate that lecturers were significantly challenged by the abrupt shift to remote instruction and that they were concerned about the lack of student engagement while teaching remotely. The findings from these interviews will be shared in the presentation.
Additional lecturer-specific mentoring and professional career coaching aimed to increase support and to improve college culture were continued during the time of the pandemic. These initiatives were conducted by the Director of Lecturer Development and built on programs that began in 2019 (Sherick et al., 2020).
Re-design orientation to offer flexibility and connection with new colleagues In order to provide support to the lecturer community during the COVID-19 pandemic, we created a new remote orientation. The developers created a Canvas course with materials that faculty could review asynchronous during early-to-mid August, as well as a pair of synchronous meetings in mid-August for faculty to ask questions about the orientation materials and discuss their plans for the coming semester with colleagues. This structure gave faculty a chance to learn about each other’s roles and areas of expertise. Through this forced redesign of the new faculty orientation, we found a better way to deliver the huge volume of content that had previously been shared with faculty in the course of a single day. The details of this orientation redesign will be included in the presentation.
Kezar, A. J. (2012). Embracing Non-Tenure Track Faculty: Changing Campuses for the New Faculty Majority. Routledge.
Kotter, J. P. (2012). Leading Change, With a New Preface by the Author (1R ed.). Harvard Business Review Press.
Rideau, R. (2019). “We're just not acknowledged”: An examination of the identity taxation of full-time non-tenure-track Women of Color faculty members. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000139
Sherick, H. M., Khan, P., & Bailey, E. J. (2020). Lessons Learned in Implementing Increased Support and Building Academic Community for Teaching Faculty Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Online . 10.18260/1-2--34914
Waltman, J., Bergom, I., Hollenshead, C., Miller, J., & August, L. (2012). Factors contributing to job satisfaction and dissatisfaction among non-tenure-track faculty. The Journal of Higher Education, 83(3), 411—434.
Khan, P., & Bailey, E. J., & Sherick, H. M. (2022, February), Supporting lecturers by building community, promoting agency, and increasing leadership opportunities Paper presented at 2022 CoNECD (Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity) , New Orleans, Louisiana. https://peer.asee.org/39142
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